Beautiful and Classic Savannah and “Why I Don’t Use Watermarks”

Why I don’t use Watermarks

I get this question a lot, and it often comes up in interviews. I know my opinion is different than many other photographers, and that is okay.

As you know, my work is all Creative Commons Non-Commercial. That means people, as long as they give credit and link back here to can use my images on their blogs, wallpaper, personal use – anything – as long as it is not used commercially. Every day, I upload a HUGE max-resolution image to the Internet. I do not have any fear at all… Believe me, it’s quite liberating living in a world without internet-stealth-fear.

People that want to license our images regularly contact licensing at – we get many of these every day of the week.

So why don’t I use watermarks? It’s a multi-part philosophy –

1) Watermarks look ugly. Whenever I look at a photo with a watermark, often times, ALL I can think about is that watermark! It’s so distracting. Maybe this is just me.

2) Legitimate companies do not steal images to use commercially. So I don’t have any logical fear there.

3) There are other services, like Tineye (and Google) that can help my team easily find bottom-feeders.

4) We do register our images with the copyright office, so if someone uses an image commercially without a proper license, it is an easy lawsuit.

5) I don’t have to maintain two versions of each image – one with a watermark and one without.

6) NOT using watermarks and using creative commons helps more and more people to use your image freely for fun, which increases traffic and builds something I call “internet-trust.”

7) As image search and image recognition get better and better, there will be no need to watermark things. In 1 year+, we’ll be able to r-click an image and choose “Google-find the original creator” — there is a bit trail to first-on-the-internet.

8) Yes, last, there will be bottom-feeders that steal your stuff. I call this the cost of doing business on the internet. These are the Tic-Tacs that are stolen from the 7-11. It is impossible to maintain 100% of your digital inventory, so wanting “perfection” in your online strategy is an illusion.

Daily Photo – Beautiful and Classic Savannah

When I drove through Savannah, I met up with my good friend Scott Kublin who showed me some of the sights. This gem of a place was one of the first places we visited. I walked up and down the road a few times to find the most interesting place to take a photo. This one was taken with the 14-24 lens — although the other interesting shot was the 200mm shot from much further away. I decided to go with this one because I really liked the position of the sun.


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